Myths and Legends Research Essay

The Creation Tale

The creation tale is one of the most well-known in human history. It truly has numerous variations from various beliefs. The translation of the Bible would be taken into account for this essay. Adam and Eve are truly the main characters in the myth. They are thought to be the first two humans on earth, and their names have Hebrew roots. On the sixth day of creation, according to the Bible, God made man. (King James Bible, Gen. 1.26). Actually, the narrative fulfills each of Campbell's four purposes of myth. Others who practice religion argue that the story is true. Some Christian scholars actually the debate the dilemma of a literal or non-literal beginning (Davidson 10). While the story of Adam and Eve seem to be really simple, it actually encompasses a lot of concepts. The myth can be associated to the mystical, sociological, pedagogical, and cosmological functions. It is more than just a story of creation. Through the narrative of Adam and Eve and its satisfaction of Campbell's four functions of myth, people are made to believe in an explanation about existence when no one else can really tell an accurate one.

The Cosmological Function

One of Campbell's four functions of myth is the cosmological one. People have always wondered about their specific origins and place amongst the vast universe. While the concept of a place bigger than humans can ever imagine is already a very perplex issue, the idea of how things came to be is an interesting but complicated subject that no one is really sure about. In the absence of explanation coming from science and religious authorities, people began to search for explanation based on signs and imagination.

The story of Adam and Eve

The story of Adam and Eve basically satisfies the cosmological function by telling a narrative of how human beings came to be. It was taken from the book of Genesis, the very first part of the Christian Bible. Thus, its story is highly related to the existence of a single God. In the beginning, the deity created all things including the universe. The story tells of the creation of a male and female, who were told to go and multiply (King James Bible, Gen. 1.28). This should explain how people populated the world. It is embedded in the concept of a cosmological image that embodies how everything came from one integrated creation (Gonzalez- Perez 5). It is important to reiterate that there are a lot of version of the creation story. Each one transcends the very origin of the universe and used specific deities who initiated such activity. For the cosmological point of view, Campbell points out that "God is beyond names and forms" (Campbell 49). Thus, the very fabric of the universe is embedded on how each belief view their God.

The Mystical Function

Campbell believes in the mystery about the transcendental nature of the universe (Campbell 31). Some expert see people as wanting to explain phenomena that cannot be completely understood such as astronomical and meteorological concepts (Levi-Strauss 429). The mystical function basically engages the experience of being in awe with the vast universe through not fully knowing its very nature.

The experience that the Christian story of creation creates

The experience that the Christian story of creation creates is something that people can relate to despite the mystical nature of the concept. Through touching the foundation of being human while being engaged with the unexplainable origin of people, individuals become engaged. Such experience is the way in which the myth of the Christian creation story fulfills the mystical function.

It is important to note that the mystical function acts as a connection between what cannot be explained through using concepts that can be experienced by people. In the Christian story of creation, two people are created according to how modern human beings are viewed nowadays. The concept is used to tell the story of something that haven't really be proven yet. Absolutely no one knows how the world came to be and who the first people really are. By using the story of creation in the format of a myth, such curiosity can be satisfied.

The mystical function can also serve as a factor to satisfy the connection of both the conscious and the unconscious. In the Christian creation story of man, this concept is shown by using a narrative that everyone can relate to. This satisfies the conscious mind. It is connected to the unconscious through the very nature of the story, which is really unknown origin of man.

The Sociological Function

Campbell believes in the sociological function of myth that aims to validate and support specific social order (Campbell 31). Through telling a narrative about something that people can relate to, they are bound to certain group. In the case of the Christian creation story, such relation can be found in how the first human beings are depicted. In essence, it describes that tribe of man in a generalized manner. Everyone can actually relate to that depiction.

The sociological function of myth also refers to the foundation of various cultural moral codes that can shape people's lives. It is through the interaction of different individuals that a specific phenomena is created. The behavior of each one within the social circle affects the group as a whole and this is shown as part of the myth (Morong 363).

In the Christian creation story, many sociocultural themes can be found. The narrative tells the creation of man through his image and likeness (King James Bible, Gen. 1.26). While it did not mention that the first one to be created is actually a male, everyone assumed it as such. It shows the patriarchal nature of society. In some versions of the Christian creation story, the woman actually came from the rib of the man. Such projection might have been brought about as well by those who initially interpreted the Bible. Regardless of who started such belief, the very theme itself acts as a basis why the myth fulfills the sociological function. It support the social order of putting males in the forefront ahead of females.

The Pedagogical Function

Campbell explains that a myth can function as a guide on how humans can live their life under different circumstances (Campbell 31). Through the application of the pedagogical concept in narratives, natural human themes are touched. People can once again relate consciously to these kinds of depiction. In the case of the Christian story of creation, the concept of duality and the idea of being a couple can be pointed out as examples. People nowadays have the concept of a man and woman and how they should become partners. Such idea was actually one of the themes in the Christian creation story. Adam and Eve was also asked to go and multiply (King James Bible, Gen. 1.28). Because of this, a lot of people believes that this is the normal way of life. Basically, one has to get a wife or a husband and raise a family.

The myth of the Christian creation story fulfills the pedagogical function by acting as a blueprint on the purpose of man in the world. As mentioned above, males and females should partner up and raise a family. In the Christian creation story, God also asked man to become stewards of all other creations (King James Bible, Gen. 1.28). To simply put it, people were asked to take care of animals and other living beings on earth. By using the myth of the Christian story of creation, man is placed at the top of the hierarchy among living things and should take care of the others.


The Christian creation story satisfies all the four functions of myth as enumerated by Campbell. The narrative presented an explanation of an event that no one can accurately depict. Through the myth's usage of a creation story that people can relate to, the cosmological function is satisfied. The same concept can be applied to how people become engaged with the experience of being human. Through the Christian creation story, the mystical function is satisfied as it appears that the very first people acts just like how individuals are nowadays. The story also have underlying themes about various social concepts. By presenting themes of a patriarchal society, the sociological function of myth is satisfied. The story also presented how God asked the first people to live. They were told to partner up and raise a family. Such is the way in which the pedagogical function is satisfied. The Christian creation story basically tried to explain what existence is all about through various underlying themes in the narrative. This satisfies Campbell's all four functions of myth.

Works Cited

Campbell, Joseph. The Power of Myth. New York: Anchor 1991.

Davidson, Richard. "Biblical Account of Origins." Journal of the Adventist Theological Society, vol. 14, no. 1, 2003, pp 4- 43.

Gonzalez-Perez, Margaret. "Myth and Literature as Political Ideology." Quarterly Journal of Ideology, vol. 24, no. 3 & 4, 2001, pp. 1- 20.

Levi-Strauss, Claud. "The Structural Study of Myth." The Journal of American Folklore, vol. 68, no. 270, 1955, pp. 428- 444.

Morong, Cyril. "Mythology, Joseph Campbell, and the Socio-Economic Conflict." Journal of Socio-Economics, vol. 23, no. 4, 1994, pp. 363- 382.

The Bible. Authorized King James Version, Oxford UP, 1998.

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